tv Politics Public Policy Today CSPAN July 19, 2013 8:00pm-10:31pm EDT
history tv looks at the history at literary life saturday 10:30 a.m. eastern on c-span 2 book tv and sunday at 5 p.m. on c-span 3 american history tv. tonight on c-span, president obama's comments on the trayvon martin case. senator ted cruz talks to republicans in iowa. and the house veterans affairs committee hears from military sexual assault victims. the president made his first public comments on the trayvon martin murder trial after the jerry found george zimmerman not guilty -- jury found george zimmerman not guilty. the president spoke to reporters. >> that is so disappointing.
james, is this the kind of respect that you get? [laughter] on television, it looks like you are addressing a full room. >> it is a mirage. >> sorry about that. do you think anybody else's showing up? i want to come out here to tell you that jay is prepared for all of your questions. he is very much looking forward to the session. i want to let you know that over the next couple of weeks, there will be a whole range of issues, immigration, economics, we will try to arrange a folder press conference. -- fuller press conference. the reason i wanted to come out today is not to take questions, but to speak to an issue that
has a lot of attention over the course of the last week. the issue of the trayvon martin ruling. i gave a preliminary statement after the ruling on sunday, but watching the debate over the course of the last week, i thought it might be useful for me to expand on my thoughts. first of all, i want to make sure once again, i sent my thoughts and prayers to the family of trayvon martin. and to remark on the incredible grace and dignity with which they had dealt with the entire situation. i can only imagine what they are going through and it is remarkable how they have handled it. the second thing i want to say, there will be a lot of arguments about legal issues in the case. i will let all the talking heads address those issues.
the judge conducted the trial in a professional manner. the prosecution and the defense made their arguments. the jury was properly instructed doubt was --ble relevant. they rendered a verdict. once the jury has spoken, that is how our system works. i did want to talk about context. and how people have responded to it and how people are feeling. you know, when trayvon martin was first shot, i said this could have been my son. another way of saying that is, trayvon martin could have been me. 35 years ago.
when you think about why in the african-american community, there is a lot of pain around what happened here. it is important to recognize the community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that doesn't go away. there are very few african- american men in this country who haven't had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store, that includes me. there are very few african- american men who haven't had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars.
that happens to me, at least before i was a senator. there are very few african- americans who haven't had the experience of getting on an elevator and a woman clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she had a chance to get off. that happens often. and i don't want to exaggerate this, but those sets of experiences inform how the african-american community interprets what happened one night in florida. and it's inescapable for people to bring those experiences to bear. the african-american community is also knowledgeable that there is a history of racial disparities in the application of our criminal laws. everything from the death
penalty to enforcement of our drug laws. and that ends up having an impact in terms of how people interpret the case. now this is not to say that the african-american community is naive about the fact that african-american young men are disproportionately involved in the criminal justice system, that they are disproportionately both victims and perpetrators of violence. it's not to make excuses for that fact, although black folks do interpret the reasons for that in a historical context. we understand that some of the violence that takes place in poor black neighborhoods around the country is born out of a very violent past in this country.
and that the poverty and dysfunction that we see in those communities can be traced to a very difficult history. and so the fact that sometimes that is unacknowledged adds to the frustration. and the fact that a lot of african-american boys are painted with a broad brush and the excuses given that there are statistics given that show that african-american boys are more violent. using that as an excuse to then see sons treated differently causes pain. i think the african-american community is not naive in understanding that statistically someone like trayvon martin was statistically more likely to be shot by a peer than he was by somebody else.
so folks understand the challenges that exist for african-american boys. but they get frustrated if they feel there is no context for it. and that context is being denied. and that all contributes, i think, to a sense that if a white male teen was involved in the same kind of scenario that from top to bottom, both the outcome and the aftermath might have been different. now the question for me at least and i think for a lot of folks is why do we take this?
how do we learn some lessons from this and move in a positive direction? i think it's understandable there have been demonstrations and vigils and protests. and some of that stuff is just going to have to work its way through as long as it remains non-violent. if i see any violence, then i will remind folks that that dishonors what happened to trayvon martin and his family. but beyond protests or vigils, are there some concrete things we might be able to do? i know that eric holder is reviewing what happened down there. but i think it's important for people to have some clear expectations here. traditionally, these are issues of state and local government, the criminal code and law
enforcement is traditionally done at the state and local levels, not at the federal levels. that doesn't mean though that as a nation we can't do some things that i think would be productive. so let me just give a couple of specifics that i'm still bouncing around with my staff so we're not rolling out some five point plan, but some areas where i think all of us could potentially focus. number one, precisely because law enforcement is often determined at the state and local level, i think it would be productive for the justice department, governors, mayors to work with state and local government. when i was in illinois, i passed racial profiling legislation and it actually did two simple things.
one -- it collected data on traffic stops and the race of the person who was stopped. but the other thing was it resourced us training police departments across the state on how to think about potential racial bias and ways to further profession lies what they were doing. theyofessionalize what were doing. and initially the police departments across the state were resistant but they came to recognize if it was done in a fair straightforward way it would allow them to do their jobs better and communities would have more confidence in them and in turn be more helpful in applying the law. obviously, law enforcement has a very tough job. that's one area where i think there are a lot of resources and best practices that could be
brought to bear if state and local governments are receptive. and i think a lot of them would be and let's figure out ways for us to push out that training. along the same lines, i think it would be useful for to us examine some state and local laws to see if it is designed in such a way to cause potential indications like we saw in the florida case rather than diffuse at indications. the stand your ground laws in florida were not used as a defense in the case. if we are sending a message as a society in our community that is -- that someone
who is armed potentially has the right to use those firearms even if there is a way for them to exit from a situation. is that really going to contribute to the east and security in order that we would like to see? andontribute to the peace security and order that we would like to see? those who resist that idea that we should think about something like the stand your ground laws, i'd like people to consider if trayvon martin was of age and armed, could he have stood his ground on that sidewalk? and do we actually think that he would have been justified in shooting mr. zimmerman who had followed him in a car because he felt threatened? and if the answer to that question is at least ambiguous, then it seems we might want to examine those kind of laws.
number three, and this is a long-term project. we need to spend some time in thinking about how do we bolster and reinforce our african- american boys. and this is something that michelle and i talk a lot about. there are a lot of kids out there who need help who are getting a lot of negative reinforcement. is there more that we can do to give them a sense that their country cares about them and values them and is willing to invest in them? i'm not naive about the prospects of some federal program. i'm not sure that's what we're talking about here. i do really as president i have some convening power.
and there are a lot of good programs across the country. there are a lot of celebrities and clergy and figure out how are we doing a better job helping young african-american men feel that they are a full part of this society and that they've got pathways and avenues to succeed? i think that would be a pretty good outcome from what was a tragic situation. and we're going to spend some time working on that and thinking about that. and then finally, i think it's going to be important for all of us to do some soul searching. there has been talk about should we convene a conversation on race? i haven't seen that be particularly productive when politicians try to organize conversations.
they end up be politicized and folks or locked into the positions they already have. on the other hand, families and churches and workplaces, there is the possibility that people are a little bit more honest and at least you ask yourself your own questions about am i bringing as much bias out of myself as i can? am i judging myself as much as i can based on not the color of their skin but the contents of their character? that would i think be an appropriate exercise in the wake of this tragedy. let me just leave you with a final thought that as difficult and challenging as this whole
episode has been for a lot of people, i don't want us to lose sight that things are getting better. each successive generation seems to be making progress in changing attitudes when it comes to race. it doesn't mean we're in a post- racial society. it doesn't mean that racism is eliminated. but when i talk to malia and sasha and i listen to their friends and see them interact, they are better than we are, they are better than we were on these issues. that's true in every community that i've visited all across the country.
and so we have to be vigilant and we have to work on these issues. and those of us in authority should be doing everything we can to encourage the better angels as opposed to using these episodes to heighten divisions. but we should also have confidence that kids these days i think have more sense that we did back then and certainly more than our parents did or our grandparents did. and that along this long difficult journey, we're becoming a more perfect union -- not a perfect union, but a more perfect union. thank you guys. talk to jay.
[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] which crimes were you referring to? which decisions were taken by the current administration would you recommend? >> thank you, senator. thank you for giving me the occasion to respond to that. i come as an immigrant to this country, i think it is the greatest country on earth. never apologize for america. it is the light of the world. we have freedoms and opportunities here that people don't have a broad. -- abroad. with regard to that quote, on of the things that moved me, it has been written critically about the clinton administration's response.
president clinton himself had come forward and expressed his regret that he said the united states did not do more in face of the genocide. when i travel to rwanda and having been critical, i was stunned to see the degree to which clinton's visit to rwanda and his apology for not having done more and how it had resonated with rwandans. thehis weekend on c-span, nomination of samantha power to be u.s. ambassador to the u.n. saturday at 10 a.m. eastern. on c-span 2 on book to be, the harlem book fair. a.m. ng saturday at 11:45 and on american history tv, the history of u.s. political parties. sunday at 1 p.m. senator ted cruz was the
keynote speaker in an iowa republican fundraiser in des moines. his visit as part of a tour. i would traditionally the first presidential caucus. this is part of c-span's 20 fifteen rd to the white house coverage. white house to the coverage. [applause] well, thank you. it is great to be with you. good afternoon. their sea for coming out. thank you for joining me. thank you for the incredible hospitality. today is the first time i have been to iowa. it has been a wonderful day.
i'm struck with the values of iowa and my home state of texas. i would note that we have some friends outside that have a little different view than those of us in here. i am reminded of a few years back where i have the cares and givety to travel the commencement speech to the school of government and if so happened that it attracted protesters at berkeley. they were very upset i have the 10 commandments in texas and they were protesting. my wife upon hearing that issue looked at me and said, you're not nearly important enough to protests. [laughter] who is married understands the tremendous role our spouses play in reminding us of our humility. kids do a good job of that as
ell. i remember back in the campaign for senate about one saturday morning i was home and doing a radio interview. we got two little girls. caroline came bursting into the bedroom. she wanted to play with daddy. heidi jumped out of bed and said, daddy is doing a radio interview. wait a minute. caroline crossed her arms and stomped out and said, politics, politics, politics. it is always politics. [laughter] i appreciate the commitment of each of you to politics. , theven more importantly commitment to changing our country. [applause]
everyone of you is here today and you understand these are not ordinary times. we are facing extraordinary challenges. we cannot keep going down the road we are going. we are jeopardizing the future of this great nation. we are jeopardizing the future for our kids. , the men and women in this room are key to helping turn the nation around. things we should do two in the coming years. number one, and defend the constitution. number two, champion growth and opportunity. constitution, it is extraordinary right now the assault on the constitution that is coming from the federal government. this administration, the obama administration, is the most lawless administration we have ever had. in my short time in the senate
over and over again, i have been blessed to have the chance to stand up and fight for the constitution. early on in my tenure, i had the privilege of standing alongside my good friend, senator rand paul, and anticipating -- and participating in a routine hour filibuster against administrations drone operations. 13 hour filibuster against the administrations drone operations. [applause] that was my first time to speak on the floor of the senate. there is a tradition in the senate that junior senators should be seen and not heard. i have not entirely managed to comply with that. [laughter] [applause] but i had respected the tradition that senators would a reasonable time before speaking on the floor of the senate.
an initially, i told randy, i have not spoken on the floor of the senate yet. i want to give it more time to as if imy colleagues. started, this is one i could not be on the sidelines for -- as the fight started, this is one i could not be on the sidelines for. i had the opportunity to stand on the floor of the senate and read travis's letter. read the opportunity to s speech.re' we happy few, we band of brothers. i have the opportunity to read ronald reagan's 1964 speech.
as they say in the beer commercial, it does not get any better than that. [laughter] iat we saw that day, and think it is important to look at what happened because it illustrates the terrain on which we are fighting has happened, when rand started that butbuster, our colleagues what he was doing was curious. as he stood up there and spoke the truth, one senator after another and another began to join. then the american people that interested. thousands upon thousands of americans became fixated by c-span, a phrase does not occur naturally in the english language. [laughter] with all apologies to our friends from c-span who are here today. thousands of americans began
going online and going on twitter and facebook and speaking out and saying to protect our rights. in the filibuster, i took to the floor and read some actual tweets that have been sent by americans that i am pretty sure the first time that has happened. that means 20 years from now if anyone has a political trivial pursuit game for geeks, i will be that secure answer to be the first one to read a tweet on the floor of the senate. a woman said that she was a grandmother. i have never used twitter before in my life. i signed up today to back up rand. what happened in the course of the day as the american people got engaged and began speaking out, our elected representatives began listening.
standinghours together, we were able to accomplish something that for three weeks the obama administration has refused to do and the next day in writing, they admitted that the constitution would put a limit on their authority to target americans. [applause] another example of defending the constitution is the battle that we had in the second amendment right to bear arms. i'm guessing one or two people in this room might care slightly about the second amendment. know, following the horrific shooting in newtown, connecticut, the obama administration shows -- chose to take advantage of that tragedy notush an anti-gun agenda to target violent criminals, but to target the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens.
i was very proud to work side- by-side with my friend and your senator, chuck grassley. helping lead the fight. of you knowey, all his leadership, but i will tell you a couple of things about him. number one on the there's no member of the u.s. oversight --ive on more effective on oversight of the obama administration. [applause] the second amendment fight started happening, we sat down and wrote together what became the lead law enforcement alternative the president obama's bill called the grassley-cruise legislation. it focused on violent criminals.
we should come down on them like a ton of bricks. they would take the lives of innocent americans. it saves the constitutional right to keep arms from law- abiding citizens. illustrates the power of grassroots, the power of the american people. i have to tell you that it did not look encouraging. president had a lot of momentum and conventional wisdom was that his anti-gun agenda was unstoppable. what happened again as millions of americans began speaking out, calling the representatives and we saw over the course of several weeks as a number of .usted together it started with a letter saying
we would filibuster any legislation that would undermine the second amendment. andthat did is give time when the grassroots engaged and when american people once again demanded of our elected officials to stand up and do the right thing, protect the aftertution, we saw one i the other forcing them to listen to "we the people." every single proposal that would have undermined did the second right was voted down on the floor of the senate. [applause] i'm grateful for chuck grassley's leadership. i'm grateful for rand paul's leadership tom about i'm most grateful for leadership in that fight.
we could not have gotten any of that done without you. the second piece. what should we be doing? we should champion growth and opportunity. restoringority is economic growth because growth is foundational to every other challenge. you want to turn around on employment, national debt, maintain the strongest military in the world to protect national security? you got to have growth. the last four years, our economy % growth per 0.9 year. there is only one other time less thanld war ii of one percent gdp growth, 1979- 1982 coming out of the jimmy carter administration, the same failed economic policy about out-of-control spending, taxes, and it produces the exact same
economic stagnation. we want to get it going again, get it strong and there are three ways you do so. number one, you finally rein in out-of-control spending and unsustainable debt. back last fall, i have the opportunity to speak at the republican convention and i spoke about the national debt, talked about our two little girls. afterwards, i went back to the hotel room and it pulled out my iphone again looking at twitter. comedianpened that the paula poundstone was watching the convention that night. i guess she did not have anything better to do. said, ted cruz just said when his daughter was born the national debt was $10 trillion
$16 trillion. what the heck did she do? [laughter] laughed so hard we almost fell out of bed. caroline is five years old. in her short life, the national debt has grown 60%. what we are doing is fundamentally immoral. our parents did not do that to us. their parents did that to them. no generation in the history of this country has given their children such crushing debt that it exceeds the size of our entire economy. grandkids, if we keep going down this path, they will spend their entire lives not working to meet the challenges they face but to pay off the dead their parents and grandparents racked up because we could not live with it.
you want to know why the american people are fed up with politicians in washington, let me be clear, it is politicians in both parties who got us in this mess. [applause] the second element of restoring growth and opportunity is fundamental tax reform. we have all seen the scandals of the irs targeting conservative groups, tea party groups, pro- life groups, targeting groups that use offensive words like "liberty," "constitution," "ill of rights." i think it's right in recognize those are a threat to what they were doing. as problematic as what they were doing was -- and let me be clear. theard nixon tried to use
irs to target political enemies it was wrong and it was rightly decried in a bipartisan manner. when the obama administration did the same thing, it is every bit as wrong. as bad as that scandal is, it underscores what i think is a fundamental solution. we need to abolish the irs. [applause] let me tell you something. in washington, d.c., there is a technical term for what i just said. that's called crazy talk. you know, it's the people out there on the fringe. y? there is an army of lobbyists on k street to make a living
putting exemptions into the irs code. there are more words in the irs code than there are in the bible. is as good. them anyone know the shortest scripture in the bible? has been a lot of weeping because of the irs. listen. if you have to depend on elected officials in washington, the irs will not be abolished. there is only one way that we will actually succeed in abolishing the irs and that is the same way we won the drone fight in the gunfight. there is no politician in washington who can win this fight. i cannot win it. chuck cannot win it. the only people who can win it are the men and women across america. if millions upon millions of americans come together as grassroots and demand of our elected officials to stand for .rinciples
stop going down this road that is bankrupting the country and threatening the future of our kids and grandkids. can dothe anything that it -- the american people demanding it. i'm working very, very hard to encourage and mobilize the american people to do exactly that. the third way we restore economic growth is regulatory reform, reducing the army a regulators, like... -- like locusts. actually, locusts are more friendly. you can use pesticide against them. it does not work nearly as well against regulators. but to stop the army of regulators who are destroying economic growth and there is no regulatory reform more important and repealing every single word of obamacare. [applause]
now, i am here right now to enlist your help. we are getting ready to have an epic battle on obamacare. congress hasread twod 38, 39, 506 times repeal obamacare but none of those votes were binding. none of them are passed into law. when it'shing to vote a symbolic gesture and you can save that you voted to do it. it's another thing when you can actually get it done. this fall, we have an opportunity to defund obamacare. [applause] in september, the continuing
resolution that funds the federal government expires. i have publicly pledged along with a number of other senators but under no circumstances will i vote for a continuing resolution that funds one penny of obamacare. [applause] our framers knew what they were doing when they crafted the legislation. thomas jefferson said it is chains to bind the mischief of government and one of the most important constraints they had was congress had the power of the purse and it is a very effective restraint to restrain an out-of-control executive. if we do one of two things, if we hold 41 republicans in the united states senate or 218 republicans in the house of representatives, we can defund obamacare in september.
i will point out that this is the last fight we will have on this before it starts going into full force in january. just a couple of weeks ago, as you know, president obama unilaterally and, in defiance of the law, decided to postpone the employer mandate until conveniently after the 2014 election. i will make two points about that. the fact that they moved it until after the election, and i suggest the timing is done accidental, is an incredible omission. if obamacare were a good thing, they would do it before the election. if it was working, as harry reid said on sunday, "obamacare has
been wonderful for the american were true, whyt move it after the election? it is an admission from the president that just as the lead ,uthor of obamacare, max baucus said, it's becoming a train wreck. the wheels are coming off. secondly, with the obama administration did was postpone it for small companies with 50 employees or more. why is it that a corporations that hard- benefits working families and taxpayers not given? that's why we need to defund every bit of it for every american. is this going to be easy? put outthings i just there -- abolishing the irs and -- i don't obamacare
know if any of you and the business consultant world have heard of the phrase bhag? it stands for big, hairy audacious goals. these are big, hairy audacious goals for the american people. if either of those came to a vote right now in congress, we would lose. we don't have the votes in the senate or the house. i will tell you as well there's nothing i can do to change it. i can argue until i'm blue in the face and it's not within my capacity to persuade 41 senate republicans or 218 house republicans but you can. done is theet this american people stand together, we come together as grassroots activists and we demand of our elected officials -- enough is
enough. talking. start acting. im reminded of back in 2001 worked in the department of justice and my boss, john ashcroft, said the following. if i'm ever accused of accused of being a christian, i would like there to be enough evidence to convict me. same thing is through that we need our leaders -- the same thing is true. demonstrate that we are with you by standing up and acting and the only way that will happen is if the grassroots demand it of our elected officials. close by sharing with -- this is a room of men and women who love this country, love liberty. for all of us, liberty is not some abstract concept we learn
and read about in a high school textbook. it is something that is real in our own lives, something that means something to beach and everyone of us and and it has something to do with all of our stores. that is very much true. my dad is from cuba. born in cuba, grew up in cuba. he started fighting in the cuban revolution. he spent four years fighting in the revolution and he was thrown in prison and tortured, beaten almost to death. , his front teeth are not his own because they were kicked out of his mouth and a cuban jail. said -- fled the regime and came to texas. $100 sewn in his
underwear -- which i don't advise. he got a job washing dishes. he did not have to speaking bush. hour in paid his way through the university of texas, got a job, started a small business, worked towards the american dream. today, my dad is a pastor in dallas. he's been my hero my whole life. please stand up. [applause] dad would a kid, my say to me over around over again, when we face oppression
in cuba, i had a place to sleep. when we lose our sleep, where do we go? -- when we lose our freedom, where do we go? we have nowhere to go. that's why we are here. you know what i find most incredible? how commonplace it is. we have a story just like this whether it is us, our parents, or our great, great grandparents. we are all the children of those and i think freedom that is the most fundamental dna of what it means to be an american, value freedom and opportunity above all else. that is what we are fighting for. that's why we are here. i'm incredibly honored and blessed to have the opportunity to be side-by-side fighting together to take our country back to restore that
shining city on a hill that is the united states of america. thank you and god bless. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] i am happy to answer or dodge any questions you like. i appreciate your goals and you being here. one topic that's important to me that you failed to mention is in light of edward snowden's revelations it has become abundantly clear that america is
running a police state that is more sophisticated than heinrich himmler could have ever dreamed of. what are you going to do to protect my fourth amendment and hold the nsa accountable for all of this? and appreciate the question i am concerned about a pattern across this government of collecting more and more information about private citizens, about law-abiding citizens. in terms of addressing it, we about the cautious level of rhetoric we employ in the public sphere. there are enormous differences between what the federal government is doing and what nazi germany did and other dictators. it is critical we preserve our constitutional liberties. with edward snowden, i have tried very much to say let's
take time to ascertain what exactly the government is doing, what the policies are, and there are twin objectives that i believe most americans want. the federal government has a responsibility to protect our national security and, in particular, to combat radical islamic terrorists. i would note that it says something that we have a president of the united states who seems unwilling to under the words, radical islamic terrorists. i have concerns about the approach of this administration on two fronts. one, it seems that they sweep law-abiding citizens into their .weep of information they have been, on multiple occasions, less than effective in actually connect in the dots and after radical islamic terrorists.
if you look for example at the boston bombings. we were notified by russia about , about theres being potentially radical islamic terrorists and we went and investigated and by all appearances drop the ball. the older brother posted a youtube video that seemed to advocate jihad. that apparently raised no red flag. i have a real concern why it was our federal government was not able to connect the dots and prevent that horrific act of terrorism. in texas at fort hood, major hassan who murdered other were red again there flags. you had a major in the army was communicating with a known terrorist asking about the permissibility of murdering fellow servicemen, who was giving a presentation to fellow islam andbout radical
embracing jihad. again, it seems we dropped the ball. my view is that we need to be vigorous protecting the national security of the united states finding andns stopping radical islamic terrorism and the same time protecting the constitution of law-abiding citizens and i believe both of those are possible and indeed to serve the ultimate objective. [no audio] [inaudible] i share your concerns.
the question was about immigration. let me just address immigration more broadly. immigration, i am both optimistic and pessimistic -- which may be a sign i have been in washington too long. i'm optimistic because i think there is a lot of bipartisan agreement on many aspects of immigration. washingtonside of there is overwhelming bipartisan agreement that the system is broken. we've got to get serious about securing the borders and stopping illegal immigration. it does make sense in a post- 9/11 world that we don't know who's coming in this country. there is overwhelming bipartisan agreement that we need to legale and streamline immigration. we need to remain a nation that thatnot just welcome, celebrates illegal immigrants. american by choice, what president reagan referred to.
if congress focused on an immigration bill focusing on those areas of a bipartisan agreement we would have a bill that would sail through congress. why am i pessimistic? i don't believe president obama wants to pass an immigration bill. i think his principal object did is political rather than passing it. in particular, the most politically divisive element of this bill is a path to citizenship for the 11 million people here illegally. if you look back in 1986, the last time congress passed , the congressform told the american people we have a deal for you. we're going to grant amnesty to the the 3 million people currently here illegally and in exchange we are going to secure stopping illegal immigration, fix the problem and the american people by and large said they would take the deal.
we all know what happened. the amnesty happened and the border never got secure. and now, three decades of letter instead of 3 million people here, there are roughly 11 million. of them are human tragedies. this is a terrible, broken system. i encourage anyone interested in immigration to come down to the texas border with me and visit with the farmers and ranchers on the border who no longer lock their homes because they have people breaking in desperate for food and water because they are on the brink of death. , you have a system women and children in trusting themselves to coyotes, dealers, being sexually assaulted, being left to die in the desert. visit with one of these ranchers who regularly encounter the bodies of those who die
desperately seeking freedom and trying to come to this country. interested in a humane system would want a system that encourages future illegal immigration. and the gang of eight bill, which i worked very hard to improve, and when they were not willing to improve it, to stop it, continues the same mistakes of the past offering the same offered in 1980 six, legalization now and sometime maybe in the future, we will secure the border. law, 10, 20,became years from now the same discussion would go on. i think what the american people .ant us to fix the system i think what president obama and the obama white house wants for the bill to be voted down in the
house of representatives because they want a political issue in 2014 and 2016. to my mind, the clarifying moment of the entire immigration debate occurred during the judiciary member market. one amendment to put real teeth in border security was rejected. one amendment to eliminate the .ath to citizenship that amendment b underlying provisions that provided legal work permits after the border was secure. schumer responded. he said if there is no , there can be no reform. opportunityook the to thank him for his candor. he has been very clear here today. he has stated he has one overarching political goal and
that partisan political goal is more important than everything in this bill. he has stated that if he does not get 100% of his partisan political bill that he is willing to do nothing to secure the border, willing to do nothing to improve high-tech immigration, nothing to help our farmers and ranchers and improve agricultural immigration. most tellingly, his willing to do nothing for the 11 million people here illegally. stay in the shadows because if i don't get every bit of my partisan political goal, i will take my marbles and go home. it was candid but it was also profoundly cynical. this is not hypothetical. played a bigobama role in sticking the knife in immigration reform than at the behest of the union bosses. now, congress is not
working to actually fix the system. that's what the american people want and that's what i hope the house does. i don't know if they will or not but i'm doing everything i can to encourage them to do exactly that. we have time for just one more question and then we will move down to the lower levels to meet with the media. are think many of us willing to get going on grassroots. i'm really excited about it erie it i feel like our hands are tied. we send letters to representatives. we call. we feel like we are going up against a black curtain and we know what happens. can you give us some advice on how to get going, how to mobilize people, some suggestions of opportunities we can all participate in? >> great question. one thing i'm trying to do is to help and encourage that. in the immigration fight, we started a website, secure borders now.
we urge people all over to come and sign up to say secure the borders first, fixed the problem, don't repeat the mistakes of the past. getting involved and engaged that way makes a difference. as you may know, i'm to abolish the irs and urging people to call in and sign up together to mobilize the grassroots. let me give an example of what the grassroots can do. from my and, i'm trying to help facilitate and encourage but to be honest, nobody can do it as well as you can as well as each of you organically reaching out to people you know and trust, nothing has the impact like someone like someone you know, respect, and trust saying, here's the truth. here's what we need to do. let me give you an encouraging and hope.
a month ago, i was in new york speaking at the new york republican party annual fundraiser. we had three groups of protesters. we had one group protesting immigration, one group protesting because they favored gun control and then we had another that was protesting because i was willing to talk to the new york republicans who were not very stout in defending the second amendment. it was interesting to get protested from both ends. a group of liberal activists decided they were going to do what was called a twitter bomb. at the time i was speaking, there are going to launch a liberal all over the country to lose.""you cruz, you group ofse, a conservative grassroots activists were going to do a twitter bomb of their own.
at 5:30 p.m. wednesday night, same time they were doing it, they were urging people to tweet "cruz to victory." #cruztovictory was trending number one in the u.s. and worldwide.o the liberal attack did not make the top 10 list. that was entirely organic. we did not prompted. we did not organize it. we did nothing. that came from the people. have seen amay senior republican sometime ago .eferred to me and rand paul my response to that was not to reciprocate, not to launch an insult the other way but to simply say, if standing for
liberty and constitution makes you a whackobird, count me a proud whackobird. [applause] to that, grassroots activists began showing up at events with t-shirts showing "whackobird" on the front. i have a picture of daffy duck bird"the picture "whacko that an activist gave to me. when we stand together, we can do incredible things. of you encourage each organically with your friends to organize, get engaged, call your elected representatives. stand for principle. urging them for standing for principle makes a real difference and i appreciate everything you are doing. inc. you and god bless.
the direction the party was .oving in can you respond to that? >> i don't know him. he is entitled to his own opinion. i'm going to keep my focus not on the politics but on the substance. i think our country is facing enormous challenges right now. we are facing fiscal and economic challenges that i think are jeopardizing the future of our nation, the future of our kids and grandkids. in my view, we need to do two things. ourave to preserve constitutional liberties. the obama administration has followed a pattern of undermining our constitutional liberty. two, we have to restore economic growth and opportunity. for the last four years, we have year average. the only time of four consecutive years less than one percent was 1979-19 82 coming out of the jimmy carter
administration and the same failed policies of out-of- control spending and regulations produce the same economic stagnation. the biggest problem with the economic stagnation of the obama agenda is that the people who are hurt the most are the most vulnerable among us. those who have in hurt the most are the young people, hispanics, african-americans, single moms. we need economic growth back so that people who are struggling to climb the ladder can have a fair and full opportunity to achieve the american dream. the president just spoke on the george zimmerman verdict and trayvon martin. the president said there is a perception in the african- american community that if trayvon martin had been white the whole thing would have been different. both what happened in the aftermath erie can you understand that perception? >> i did not see his remarks and i will say, any time you have a teenager who loses his life but it's a tragic day.
two, i think the entire unfortunatead some elements to it. there were some in the political sphere who try to take a tragic encounter between george manerman, and hispanic defending his neighborhood, and trayvon martin and turn it into a rationally -- racially polarized battle. , athis case, we had a trial trial that was decided by a jury pursuant to the constitution and they rendered a verdict. we need to respect the verdict. president's credit, following the verdict, he said the same thing. we need to respect the jury's verdict and i appreciate the president saying that. more broadly, there is no doubt that in the african-american community that there are great challenges because many children
in the african-american community are facing less opportunity than they would like and then they would deserve. they are often in failing educational systems, systems where their chances of getting a job, of climbing the american latter are minimized and we forld have far more passion improving the hope and opportunity of young african- americans, young hispanics of young people through the country. for example, we ought to see far more competition and school choice so that young kids who are trapped in schools that are not teaching them, that are failing them, have the opportunity to go to a school and learn because education is foundational to achieving the american dream. i would love to see a renewed cane of passion for how we expand opportunity and the african-american community, the hispanic community, and the two best ways to do so are to improve the educational choice
and economic growth, an environment where small businesses thrive and prosper because it means that there are jobs for people climbing the ladder. >> the president called for a national review of stand our ground laws saying it was part of the problem. >> it's not surprising the president uses every opportunity ouran to try and go after second amendment rights rights. i think it's unfortunate that this president and this administration has a consistent disregard for the bill of rights whether it's the first amendment and restrict and the rights of our servicemen and women to share their faith and not begat, whether it's the second amendment right to keep and bear arms, whether it is the fourth and fifth amendment rights of american citizens to be secure from unreasonable search and seizure and be protect data from by drones,argeting
this administration has undermined the bill of rights bill of rights and i think that's unfortunate. >> have you put any thought into a presidential bid? >> i'm here because i'm focusing my time on trying to make the argument and when the argument that, number one, the free- market system in the system has been the greatest engine for prosperity and opportunity the world has ever seen and, two, that our constitutional safeguards, the bill of rights that protect our god given rights, they are foundational and we need to get back to the constitution. i didn't an office all of seven months. to that, the last elected office i held was student council. what i can tell you is i have been to over one dozen states, have had 45 events across the state of texas doing everything i can to make and helped win the argument that we need to get back to our free-market principles, back to our
constitutional foundation. >> is that a no or yes? >> my focus right now is not on politics. >> you are in iowa, senator. >> everything likes to be put through a political lens. i can tell you what i tell people in my office every day -- let's focus on substance, good policy makes good politics. day, standp every for principles, free-market principles, stand for the constitution and the politics will take care of themselves. i have been to over one dozen states and this is an opportunity to speak and engage grassroots activists who are a critical part of the national dialogue. let me say second thing on the question of 2016. we just had a presidential race a few months ago. i will tell you as a voter, i think it's premature to decide who we should support and i will
tell you for me as a citizen and a voter who i will support in 2016 is whoever is standing up leading, whoever is effectively defending the constitution and free-market principles, effectively making the argument to the american people that there is another road we can go down, another path to return to prosperity and opportunity this country was built on. that is what we should be looking at and right now, the senate is the battlefield. i try to stand for conservative principles in the senate and i think the focus on substance of the politics will take care of themselves. thank you very much. >> on the next "washington youral," discussing stand ground laws in states throughout the country. and then we talk about the sec's
a bond case against trader and his allegedly wrote in the 2008 meltdown. after that, from newsweek daily beast, ambassador to the u.n. nominee and challenges she faces if confirmed by the senate. tweets oncalls and "washington journal" at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. what we do teach here at the museum on a typical tour is that we do start how the music edison andarted with the cylinder machine and then we go forward with the invention by e-mail berliner of the flat disc machine, the gramophone. we go ahead and talk about johnson's very important invention to improve this machine.
johnson and his engineers went to work to try to keep customers happy. . they came up with a style referred to as a victrola. that was coined when the horn was actually removed and it was put in a concealed area within the cabinet itself. also decided, a clever idea, to put doors on the front which allows you to modify the sound. now you had volume control doors. also could take the lead and close it which gives you the ability to soften the sound and if you had a very scratchy record, it would also hide that sound as well.
♪ the foundere about of the talking machine company as both tv and american history tv look at the history and dover,y right -- life of delaware, on c-span 2 book tv and on american history tv. >> members of the military and members of the military on sexual assault. the pentagon estimates an average of more than 70 sexual assaults occur in the u.s. military every day. later, we will hear from defense and a va mental health about programs in place to treat victims of sexual assaults. this is just under three hours.
>> good morning. before we begin, i would like to ask unanimous consent for my friends and fellow committee members to participate in today's proceedings. without objection, so ordered. i welcome you to today's hearing. i am grateful for you all for being here today. when the men and women of our armed forces sign up to defend our freedom, they willingly accept the danger from our
enemies. what they should never have to accept is the threat of sexual assault from their fellow service members. perpetrators should be aggressively pursued, prosecuted, and punished. we're working to advance legislation reform and improve the military justice system. just as important as that effort is the one we turn today. listening to, caring for, and supporting the healing of those who have suffered this terrible crime. according to the dod, there were 38 incidents of sexual assault among male service members and 33 incidents of sexual assault among female service members per day. the last fiscal year. last fiscal year, there were 71 incidents of sexual assault every single day among those who
wear our uniform. to say this is unacceptable does not adequately describe the reality, the lasting effects it can have on the lives of those who experience it. a service member who was a victim of sexual assault is often hesitant to disclose their experience or seek the support of services they need and deserve. this is troubling to me, it is even more troubling to listen to the personal stories of those who have taken the brave steps to come forward and find those departments tasked for caring for them are unresponsive, uncoordinated, and unable to meet their obligations. in january of this year, the government accountability office issued a report which found that
dod sexual assault coordinators were the single point of contact for sexual assault survivors and were tasked with managing their medical needs within the department of defense "are not always aware of the health care services available to sexual assault victims at their respective locations." the gao found that military healthcare providers did not have a consistent understanding of their responsibilities. a va inspector general report issued last december found that among other things, the va's military sexual trauma coordinators report as little as
two hours a week to conduct outreach to and monitoring of those veterans who have screened positive for military sexual trauma. what confidence can assault survivors have? failed to provide the health care options available and failed to empower most direct of points of contact with the knowledge, authority, and tools to be effective. not just present. the answer to that question lies in the voices of our veterans themselves. we spoke with many veteran survivors of military sexual trauma and those who were closely with them. i'm honored to have four such veterans with us this morning. these veterans represent four branches of service. these brave men and women have endured firsthand heartbreak and pain associated with military sexual trauma. they know better than anyone how very long and difficult journey to healing can be.
each of them has braved public scrutiny and they are reliving a very painful memory to be here today to share with us their experiences in the hopes that we might do better for those that come after them. your contribution here today will bring out of the shadows and into the light on much- needed call for change. i thank each of you for your honorable service to our nation and to your fellow veterans. a service which began in uniform years ago and continues here today. i think that says a lot about the importance or lack thereof that the dod places on this topic. i will yield to our ranking member for any opening statement she may have. >> thank you, mr. chair. good morning to everyone. i would like to thank all of you for attending today's hearing. the subcommittee will also be looking out the coordination of care and services offered to the victims of mst. many victims who have suffered through an ordeal such as sexual
assault often times are reluctant to discuss their situation and seek help. those finally gathered the courage to speak up find their story is often dismissed or treated him differently, unjustly, becoming the victim again. as many of you know, the pentagon reported earlier this year that an estimated 26,000 cases of unwanted sexual contact occurred in 2012, up from 19,000 in 2011. with only 13.5% of incidents reported, it is clear that we must do a better job in both preventing and treating mst.
these service members and veterans often continue to experience debilitating physical and mental symptoms, which can follow them through their lives. focusing on prevention, however, is only part of the solution. it is critical that we do everything that is necessary to do to make it easier for victims to access needed benefits and services and received treatment. compassion and care are a significant part of healing those that have been sexually assaulted. i applaud the legislative efforts of our colleagues who have introduced legislation. these bills seek to ensure stronger protections are in place so that the safety and well-being of our men and women in uniform is assured. we must begin to take these
important steps to end sexual assault. as a proud cosponsor of both bills, i believe we are headed in the right direction, but we still need to do more. i was saddened to read the testimonies of our first panel. the pain and suffering was evident. i know this is hard for all of you and i commend all of you on your bravery to speak up and be here today. we need to hear firsthand the experiences of veterans who have found the system unfriendly and intimidating so that we can make it better. i look forward to hearing from our witnesses today. thank you for being here, this is a very important issue for us to tackle in congress. >> thank you. i would like to formally welcome our first panel to the witness table.
will the panelists please come forward? joining us today is victoria sanders from nevada, california. thank you very much for being here and for your service. i will yield to my friend and colleague from indiana, who will introduce our next veteran. >> thank you for yielding. it is a commitment we share with this committee in addressing this critical issue. i want to thank every member up here for voting yes on the whistleblower protection bill. many of the cosponsors are sitting here today. it is my honor to introduce lisa wilkins from indiana. she was sexually assaulted and 100% disabled as a result of the trauma endured. lisa is more than just a wonderful wife and dedicated mother.
she is a survivor. she is a survivor who has made it a mission to bring other victims out of isolation and the shadows. she is a veteran and she has the right to receive access to meaningful treatment. thank you for having the courage to testify before this committee today. thank you for your tireless efforts to hold the va accountable. >> thank you for your service. our next veteran witness is brian lewis. he is a recent graduate of stevenson university. thank you very much for being here. thank you for your service. we are also joined by tara johnson. she was born and raised in new jersey and currently resides in wisconsin. she is a veteran of the marine corps and served her fellow
veterans. thank you very much for being here and thank you for your service. >> ms. sanders, would you please proceed with your testimony? you have five minutes to testify. we like to try to do that. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank you for this chance to speak before this committee. it is like a birthday gift from congress because yesterday was my 50th birthday. 38 years ago on my 20th birthday, i arrived at my only active duty station in colorado. one month later, i was raped. in the middle of the legal battle, i was thrown into a custody battle. after basic training, i separated from my husband and had one child. i was diagnosed with ptsd in 2004 and it has been a long road and i'm hoping my testimony today will help me come full circle.
my rapist confessed to enough of his crimes that he was reduced in rank and was confined to barracks. this is an example of chain of command harassment. the barracks he was confined to is the one where i worked. when you report a rape, you become public enemy number one. no one will talk to you and if they do, it is to tell you that you got what you deserved. you internalize what happened. iey let me go but
being raped by a service member is a double betrayal, but not being backed up by your commander is hardest of all. we have lost good people on each step of this journey. today i want to mention two. terry, and sophie. they did not live long enough after being raped to become veterans. my experience was first supportive, caring, trained professionals. we had a great ptsd clinic in san jose. i was one of a group of five women who were not eligible to go for in-patient treatment for various reasons. the doctor started a group for the five of us. three weeks into the program she was told by her boss that she could not continue this therapy with us. she did, however, finish out the 17-week program. she was not going to leave us. our world was crushed. the student who worked with her watched us.
as she watched, she decided to change her focus to trauma, and specifically military sexual trauma. she went to work if he v.a. after she finished her stud. she worked there until she got a job at stanford to be available for patients. it does intensive therapy using many things not available at most v.a. facilities. this shows me we patients are powerful, but only when we are allowed to have meaningful therapy. not just basic skills. how many times can a person take the same information from in the same form from a student reading from a book? that is not therapy. since i have moved my care to the san francisco v.a., i have only seen two act pull full- fledged doctors. the rest were residents, interns and candidates and fellows. they were not licensed in trauma therapy. i was re-traumatized on numerous occasions.
it is outlined in my written test -- testimony. it has been well documented that psychiatric diagnosis is not scientifically grounded, does not reduce human suffering and carries tremendous risks of many kind. assault survivors should be offered services without the requirement they be given psychiatric labels. these can be arbitrary and very subjective. further complicating matters is there is no universally accepted treatment for ptsd. as for the future of this problem from the military to the v.a., what i see is more of the same. most of the chiefs of staffs were cadets when i was raped in 1975. this year at west point had to disband the rugby team for inappropriate behavior. the number of failures this year alone is too long to list.
this climate must change. every day 71 people are assaulted, 22 commit suicide. we don't home are as a result of assaults and runs. >> thank you, mrs. sanders. we appreciate your word. >> i am a united states air force verne. i was medically separated after a sexual assault, and i am currently rated 100% service decked by the department of veterans affairs. i am a wife and mother. more importantly i am a military sexual trauma veteran. that is the d.o.d.'s way of categorizes us as we are rain survivors of friendly fire. i use those terms not to make a joke of it, but to bring it home that we were assaulted by
someone who wore the uniform as we wore. not all people wear the uniform as honorably as you do. thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak today. i have struggled for many years to be proud of my service because of the experience that i had in the military. but speaking out about this topic makes it so that if another veteran doesn't have to suffer and struggle with the things i have struggled with, it is important for me to do so. not a day goes by that i don't deal with something that is a result of the sexual assault. why is ptsd from sexual assault so long-lasting? i believe the reason for that is that it is not properly treated or dealt with at the time. the treatment that we receive when we report an assault in the military, it is as if we are the perpetrator. we are the ones put under the microscope. that is something that needs to
stop. it is almost as if your chain of command sets out to do some type of emotional blackmail on you, or emotional trauma. that is something that a rain survivor can't handle at that time. you are in a closed society. most people don't how much the v.a. treatment facilities, mirror our military treatment facilities. that is one of the big hurdles that the v.a. must start with, recognizing there are a lot of men and women that will not come to the v.a. for treatment because of the experience they had in the military, or at the time there wasn't the whistle blower protection and they didn't report it. but now they are older and having problems, and they won't come to the v.a. because of their experience in the military. you are going to hear me speak about outside treatment
facilities. we need the ability to go outside of the v.a. if services aren't available at that v.a. medical center so that we don't have to suffer in silence. we need groups at our v.a. medical centers for support, and we need groups outside of v.a. facilities. sexual assault is not something that you can be treated for like a broken arm where your arm is in a cast for six weeks and then you are fine. sexual assault in general is something that changes a person from that point forward. it takes the opportunity of what you could have become and changes it to what it makes you. why is it so important that we speak out about this topic? the reason it is so important that we speak out about this topic is that so that other men and women who are currently wearing the uniform under they are not alone, and that there
are people out there that will stand up for them. one of the things that is important to realize is that in our treatment, we need better resources. those resources can be outside of the v.a. in our local communities. right now in our v.a. medical center, the wait for someone to see you for military sexual trauma is almost two years. if we could utilize our local health care providers and mental health providers, i know the men and women in indiana would utilize that. unfortunately, getting approval from the v.a. to go outside is a difficult process, and it is not something that is done easily. we have m.s.t. coordinators at all of our v.a. facilities. unfortunately, they are generally just one person, and they have other assigned duties. we need military sexual trauma
coordinators at all of our v.a. facilities that have a staff, that are able to do more than just push the paperwork for those veterans. they need to be able to interact with that veteran and make sure the veteran is severing the care they need. and if not, have the ability to stand up for that veteran. those are the things that we didn't get while we wore the uniform. and being able to have those services available to us now can change people's lives. thank you for your time. >> thank you very much for your testimony. mr. lewis, please proceed with your testimony. >> chairman benishek, ranking member brownley, distinguished members of this subcommittee and members of congress. it is a privilege and honor to be testifying before you today. i would like to thank my partner who couldn't be here. our significant others do so
much, and they receive so little time and energy they put into us as survivors. i want to acknowledge that before i start. i would also like to thank the subcommittee for treating the issue of military sexual trauma in a gender inclusive way. about 14,000 of the 26,000 sexual assaults on active duty are male victims. this gender neutral conduct places the subcommittee further ahead of the white house and very much ahead of the veterans health administration. it has been my experience that the v.a. discriminates against male survivors of military sexual trauma solely because of their gender. this is a practice that needs to be brought to light and stopped by this subcommittee. currently the veteran's health administration operates about 24 residential treatment perhaps for post traumatic stress disorder. only about 12 are designed
specifically for the treatment of military sexual trauma. of those 12, only one accepts male patients. that facility, the center for sexual trauma services at v.a. medical is co-educational. male survivors have no gender specific residential program designed specifically for military sexual trauma. i know. i tried. there was nothing available for me in a single gender capacity. this made it very difficult to pro the issues when i was at v.a. by pines. i join the american legion on in saying the model needs to be overhauled, and quickly. in the out patient environment, care for male survivors of military sexual trauma can be spotty at best. while there are counselors
available for us, receiving care such as peer support groups and being allowed to speak about military sexual trauma in mixed gender and trauma groups, it can be very difficult for any gender, male or female. this needs to stop. male survivors are the equals of female survivors and need to be treated as such by the veterans health administration. i have placed more data in my christian testimony about my personal treatment at v.a. bay pines and at baltimore v.a. medical center, and i will leave that in there. the next top i would like to touch upon is the overall
supervision of sexual trauma perhaps in the v.a. has been vested in the director of women's health, family services and military sexual trauma. this oversight protocol denigrates the experience of male survivors and reinforces the concept that the v.a. sees military sexual trauma as a women's issue. that is not the case. male survivors have just as much right to seek and be treated at the v.a. at any other survivor. another harmful practice is personality disorders. as this subcommittee is well aware, personality disorders have been used along with adjustment disorder, bi polar and other forms of errant diagnosis to push survivors of military sexual trauma out of the military. it has far-reaching consequences.
for example, survivors attending the topeka, kansas city facility are asked to defend their discharge and explain it to enter the program. a survivor who has been pushed out with one of these weaponized diagnoses does not want to do that. i urge the committee members to support h.r. 935 offered by the representative. it would give those like me to apply for potential military retirement and shift some of these costs back to where they belong. it fundamentally fails survivors of male trauma every day. they have proven their inadequacy for help us. that is why we have formed. we request congress to legislate that.
thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. lewis, for your testimony. i appreciate your efforts. ms. johnson? would you go ahead? >> thank you for the opportunity to speak today. i proudly served in the marine corps for 10 years and achieved the rank of major. i am now 40 years old, and this is the first time i have ever disclosed my experience regarding m.s.t. and the care i received. i joined the marine corps because i wanted to serve my country. my first ins deb was when i was every officer candidate and was sexually assaulted. through my career i had receiver experiences. i did not report them because i had seen what happened. despite they experiences, i excelled in the marine corps and
l lived the motto of suck it up and press on. i spent eight years on active duty. i returned as a reservist in 2009. again i experienced an incident of m.s.t. began to suffer from anxious it's and panic attacks. i approached my command. my statements were dismissed and i endured more harassment and abuse. i sought treatment for panic attacks, but i was never asked about mississippi state mississippi state by medical personnel. i was put on medication to relieve depression and anxiety. i asked to be released from active duty because it was so difficult. this placed me as well as my children in an extremely fragile financial state for a significant period of time. the complete pride i had felt with as a marine in the past is
now riddled with shame and distrust. i saw treatment from the madison, wisconsin, v.a. i received mainly treatment. while it was clear i had severe symptoms of ptsd, i was never asked by a provider if i had experienced m.s.t. i underwent screenings for ptsd, and i wasn't a combat veteran. yet no one looked at it and said what is causing this? for the first time in my life i contemplated suicide. but i knew i needed to continue to copy for the sake of my children. while the psychiatrist i saw was helpful, it was difficult for me to receive consistent treatment at this time as i was not yet service connected. i received little to no medication monitoring. i feel the medication caused more depression and anxiety and
was a reason i contemplated suicide. in 2010 i had an exam for mental health. i entered that with the hope they would dying notice m.s.t. the doctor spent 20 minutes with me. he was abrupt and impersonal and did not ask me once about m.s.t. i was not given the opportunity to disclose my experiences. he ended the appointment quickly and stated i would be fine. as i waited for service connection, i was informed because of my income the prior year, even though i was currently unemployed, i would have to pay for any care that i received from the v.a. during this time. i was not yet financially stable and could not offered extra costs. i contacted the patient advocate and told him of my experience. he attempted to have m.s.t.
added to claim. i was directed to prepare and submit a statement that described the assaults. i submitted the statement. i was hopefully it would allow me to receive another examination where i could address my experiences with m.s.t. despite fulfilling the request, i was not granted another exam. i continued to struggle with symptoms and memory as well as side effects from medication. because m.s.t. was not addressed, i was told i was not able to utilize the local vet center. several months later i did receive my service connection and was able to meet with a provider. during intake for the ptsd program, the provider did not ask about m.s.t. i decide to can disclose my experiences. i was detailed and candid. this provider said i did appear to have ptsd and would be helped. she said the period was at least four months log.
when i got the opportunity for treatment, my provider was only at the v.a. twice a week. i was a working single parent and it was extremely difficult to schedule points. i was take off work and arrive at an appointment only to be told it was canceled. i was made aware that even though the hospital has canceled the appointment, the patient record showed i no-showed or canceled myself. this was not the truth. i was then informed i was non- compliant because i couldn't participate in the therapy called prolonged exposure therapy. throughout this period i received limited medical care at the v.a. no v.a. nurse or doctor asked me if i had ever experienced m.s.t. though several things correlated. i was employed at the v.a. in the same program. m.s.t. was not addressed.
although there was an m.s.t. coordinator at this hospital, i never had the opportunity to speak with her and i never witnessed any collaboration. i attempted to speak to my program manager receiver times, but i was unsuccessful. in 2010 i decided to attempt to engage in treatment at the v.a. once again. i was assigned a male provider who was new to the v.a. during my first appointment i again disclosed my experience with m.s.t. he looked at me and sat back in his chair and said do you really think you were raped? i could not bring myself so return to the v.a. i began to use my provide insurance. i this now pay out of pocket for all of my therapy. based on my experience and other veterans, i recommend the v.a. change their approach to screening, acknowledgement and treatment.
if i had o'neal been asked about my experiences about m.s.t., i would have provided full disclosure. i, like many, was never asked. thank you. >> unfortunately, they called votes on the floor. so we will be back in session as soon as that is over with. i appreciate all of your testimony and the bravery you have shown to testify about personal events. we will be in recess until i get back. [no audio]
the subcommittee is called to order. i am going to yield myself five minutes for questions. frankly, the testimony that i heard from all of you today is really, really revealing, tragic. i know there is bipartisan support in the subcommittee to really make significant change in the way the d.o.d. and the v.a. treat victims of sexual trauma.
i think maybe the most interesting -- and i heard this before in other cases. the testimony i heard from you, ms. sanders, i think that came out in all of your testimony, that you never get someone at the v.a., if you ever get into counseling, that you have a consistent provider. i know how difficult that is trying to talk to somebody that doesn't know your case. can you expand on your testimony there and make us all aware of how difficult it is to get a consistent provider? even once you have gotten a provider. has it been so bad that you have never been able to get anybody consistently? >> when i first entered the system, there was a fantastic clinic, and they treated us very well.
they went out of their way to make sure we got the treatment we needed. but it was led by a very dynamic person. that was dismantled, and we were left with scraps. it ended up i was the only person going to that clinic and was seeing a social worker. unfortunately, she passed away, so i was left with no care. i moved to north of san francisco because i had a grandchild, and i started care at the san francisco v.a. because i can't drive very far. i have had no real care in two years. i asked for fee basis. i got it. at one point i took it to our local county. they closed the county office the second day i was there. it was a facility that treated both civilian and military sexual trauma victims, and people who were coming out of
jail and trying to get off of drugs and trying to get their children back. i have since asked again for a fee basis. i was told you have got a fee basis for two sessions. i was never told where to take that fee basis. i was never told who to contact. i attempted to say ok, i have medicare. can we get some movement on that? i received a phone call. they said go on the computer and look up care givers -- >> that was all the guidance that you got? >> i have in front of me a fee basis i was supposed to receive from may. i never got the letter in the mail. i called after six weeks because i was told we don't know how long it will take. she said oh, it is already expired. so they sent it to me, and it
expired july 17th. i still have no one to take it to, no help to find anyone to talk it to. i asked if a social worker too sit down with me and make the phone calls if they didn't want to do it? but that i alone cannot just sit down and call every provider in my county who find out who will take the v.a.'s fee basis. the one person i contacted said it would cost my $450 for the first session and $280 for every session after that, and she had to have the money up front, and i had to go get the money from the v.a. then i came here. so i'm hoping that by coming here and telling you guys that a for fee basis is not going to get me anywhere. no decent provider is going to take it.
a real provider wants to give you care consistently and comprehensively, and that can't be done with two fee basis at a time. >> of course. >> does that answer your question? >> well, it gives us a feeling of what is going on because it is just so frightening, frankly, the testimony that we have heard here this morning. i know there is great bipartisan support to make this better. my frustration persists. i thank you, and i am out of time. ms. brownley? your five minutes for questions of the >> thank you, mr. chair. again i want to thank all four of you for being here today and sharing your story with us. it is extremely important in terms of our work moving forward. i want to say certainly as a new
member of congress, i am a new member of congress, and i just want to personally apologize to all of you. we should have done, and we need to do, a much better job in support of what has happened to you as you have served our country. your bravery today is to be commended, and your duty as soldiers in the military and your service to our country. but the bravery you have demonstrated today is really beyond the call of duty, and i am very, very grateful for your participation. there is no question in my mind there is a lot of work that needs to be done. we need to address the culture that takes place in the military. that needs to be fixed.
we need to address the transition from leaving the service, to becoming a veteran. and then certainly if there is trauma that takes place, then we need to eradicate that from happening in the first place. but if something does happen, then as a veteran who has served our country. we need to figure out how to best provide and serve all of you to the best of our ability and to mimic best practices that are happening outside of the v.a. and what is really happening in facilities across our country when one is sexually assaulted. i'm not even really sure on where to start on the questioning. i guess i certainly would like to hear your positions or your
suggestions, i guess, vis-a-vis how we can improve. there has been talk about case management when someone is sexually assaulted in the military, that we transition them with continuity of care to make that transition as best as it could possibly be. but i offer suggestions really from all four of you in terms of as you have had your own experiences and knowing what the system is today, how can we improve upon it? >> thank you, ranking member brownley. my first suggestion is that fee bay care need to be made available at the request of the veteran. as our testimony has demonstrated, v.a. is fundamentally incapable of providing care to survivors of military sexual trauma in the
current environment. there are provisions in section 17-20 d that allows fee basis care to be offered if it is clinically advisable. that is the case in a lot of v.a.'s. i know one v.a. where male survivors of military sexual trauma are seeking care in the women's clinic. that is not best practice. that is horrible practice. these ladies as survivors deserve a space to be safe and to not be triggered potentially by male veterans. i in turn deserve the same place to go, if my perpetrator were female, which happens more often than we would think. i deserve that same place to go and not be triggered.
i also deserve in essence to have my manhood respected by not seeking care in a women's clinic. that is an area the v.a. can do a lot more to serve. there is very little medical literature about male survivors of sexual trauma of any sort. that is a way v.a. can be leading research. and they are not doing it. the other suggestion i would have is to make sure there is continuity of care. just today i received a phone call from my current provider. he has been out of the office intermittently on and off due to health care problems, but that makes it difficult. when i returned back from bay pines, their responsibility was to ensure i received continuity of care.
they failed at that. i went two months after leaving bay pines without seeing a doctor or a psychiatrist. i cannot in good conscience recommend v.a. to any survivor of military sexual trauma at this time. thank you, ranking, member. >> dr., you have five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. in the army we have an acronym. it is leadership. that means addressing wrongs that take place and wrongs that not only exist in the world, but wrongs that exist in our military. what has happened to you is literally a form of devastating trauma. i know i speak for all my colleagues on this committee that taking care of our troops
is not just a nice thing to say and do, it is our obligation to do so. i really appreciate your courage today, and i think it is up to us to have the courage to change policies and attitude. my question to you today, and i think i know the answer from your testimonies, but do you feel that currently you would be more comfortable getting care inside or outside of the v.a. i think you just answered that. >> outside. >> outside. >> receiving care outside of the v.a. accomplishes a couple of things. one thing it accomplishes, it puts us in the hand of people who are trained to treat sexual assault victims. unfortunately, the v.a. doesn't have a protocol set up to train their employees of how to interact with military sexual trauma veterans. therefore a lot of times they trigger symptoms and make our
ptsd worse. also with fee basis being accept outside of the v.a., they reimburse at medicare rates. i have a fee basis card. i received that car because i ahad an unnecessary surgery at our v.a. hospital in indianapolis due to a nurse looking at the wrong lab results. as a result they all wrote consult for me to be able to be seen outside of the v.a. originally it was denied. the second decision they approved me to go outside for g.y.n. services but not any other services. when i appealed that decision, then i was given my fee basis card, and it says all medical conditions. the difficult part in that is finding a provider in your local area that will accept that fee basis because there is no
partnership with the v.a. if they are a provider that does their own billing, they don't want to see you because they don't want to have to deal with pushing the papers to the v.a. or waiting for that reimbursement. if you are a provider and can bill a provider $85 for a session, but you are going to get $19 at the reimbursement rate, would you as a physician take that patient on? there need to be a partnership between fee basis and our local community. and more importantly, also with a national chain of pharmacies. when we see an outside provider and you are fee basis and you receive a prescription, you have to mail that into the v.a. and wait for them to mail those medications to you. a lot of times those medications need to be started immediately.
you have the option of going to the pharmacy and paying yourself. but you then have to pay the full rate. as responsible veterans, they mail it in and wait for it to come back. it seems as though the v.a. doesn't look for those common sense solutions. that is what i would like to ask the committee to do today. >> thank you. please go ahead. >> in speaking very briefly about my employment and time with the women's health program, one of my primary responsibilities was to do outreach calls. the outreach calls were literally to get numbers for women veterans who are up to date on mammograms and pap smears. if they were not, the process for them to go outside the v.a. through fee basis and working partnerships with hospitals, and it was so simple that i was
dumbfounded. yet, there is no simple way for someone who has experienced m.s.t. to go outside of the v.a. to receive treatment. if we are doing it in one program, it is possible to do it for others, too. >> that is exactly the type of input i wanted to hear. >> congressman, one thing i would like to address briefly before your time expires is the use of interns and medical students to provide care in the v.a. i know at my home v.a., they are heavily dependent on medical students. that is simply not a good practice with survivors of trauma such as military sexual trauma. when i was at bay pines, my primary counselor there was a psychology post grad.
i found her, when i was sitting there trying to disclose details of my trauma, sitting there clicking her tongue ring as i was disclosing details about my trauma. for me, that was horribly disrespectful. another time at my home causality in baltimore, a student was running a group and allowing combat veterans to talk about their trauma while not allows m.s.t. victims -- while not allowing m.s.t. victims to talk about these. there are four or five-letter word i could say to that. but we need to be looking at the proper use of students and residents in providing m.s.t. care. we need to give a hard look at that. thank you.
>> the gentlewoman from new hampshire? >> thank you very much, mr. chair and thank you to all the members of the committee for convening this hearing. i was one of the members who requested that this happen, having spoken to veterans in my area in new hampshire. one message i want to convey along with ms. brownley, mr. winthrop, ms. walorski and mr. benishek. we are new members to congress, and so we are arriving here right at a time when the public is very focused on this issue. i want you to know that we are going to work with ms. spear, who has been working on this issue a long time, and a number of other members of the house and senate.
i appreciate the chair for holding this committee. we have made a commitment to work on this. i want to thank my colleague for leading a whistle blower effort on that. we passed that bill two weeks ago 423-0 in the house. that is the kind of support you have when we come together and find common ground. so i know that we can help you. i join ms. brownley in apologizing to you that you haven't been heard previously. my question, i have been trying to jumpstart my education on this by going and visiting facilities. new hampshire is the only state without a full service veteran's hospital, but fortunately we share the hospital in white river vermont. they had a brand new, newly opened care center, and i hear,
mr. lewis, your concerns, and i want to address that. in this case it is a brand new women's support center where they have listened to victims and survivors about literally the architecture, but particularly the programming that they want. they also visited a manchester's center where they have really outstanding treatment and provision of counseling, groups and such there. so i want to ask you -- i respect the recommendation for care outside of the v.a. and if that is the direction we arego, then that makes sense to me, because i understand we can't bring the training up all across the country. but if you were in a position to advise us of what best practices would look like, if we could get
to that place in the v.a. system, what is it that you would recommend be included? this would be either in a hospital setting, in a vet center setting, in a clinic setting. what are the components that you would recommend to us. >> i appreciate the question, and to hear about the program at white river junction almost makes me want to cry. >> it was truly incredible. i was given the tour by a victim that had been part of a task force, and they had addressed a lot of the issues i are talking about, including the entrance, making sure it is glass, that the women can see who is coming in. the only treatment providers are female in that entire section. what are some of the elements that we could be addressing?
>> i will defer to some of the women veterans sitting here to talk about the components of the wins veteran program. but i think that the first thing that white river junction would do is to do that same thing for male survivors. we don't deserve to have to walk through the same sea that the women veterans have complained about and looked at in a demeaning tone because we are not combat veterans. we also don't deserve to be mixed in with the women only because v.a. cares that little about male survivors. other components i would suggest is m.s.t. programming needs to be conducted in mental health. as a man, if i go to women's services, i am certainly
triggered because i feel a lot less than a man being respected as a survivor. i would also recommend getting away from the current practice of teaching by the manual and hoping our objective scores go down. that is not bright. it is an experience. youit did cause psychological damage, and it deserves possible looked at holistically, not out of a manual where you go from inof a manual where you go from one method, to the next, to the next. andthat takes a concept.in athat takes peer supporter. that takes a whole range of things, and i would be happy at some future point to talk about that. i will defer to the lady survivors here. >> i would like to see satellite clinics. my mother lives in kansas. youthey have a satellite clinic that comes. it is only 35 miles to the hospital.
but the people can go to that satellite and renew their medications or whatever they need. if you could say on mondays we have a women's clinic at this address where it is not the v.a., and it is just for women or men, and you can rent a room. it is inexpensive that way. you are not building a facility. we are not asking you to build us the taj majal. we are just asking you to provide us a safe space close enough to our home that we feel comfortable going that distance. for me an hour away is too far at this point. i can't make it. the vet center in my coup has one man who works there, and he can't even answer the phone because he is so busy.
he is afraid to work with female survivors, that because he is a big body-building man, they are going to be afraid. we had a discussion, and he said i am afraid of what will happen and you come out in the local paper, and women call expecting there to be a woman here. there isn't. the vet centers need to be supported, and the idea of a satellite clinic needs to be explored. it could eliminate some of the fee basis. if you had some of the people trained and send them to trinity county for wednesdays, and another county for tuesdays. i was a nurse, and i was taught you always meet the patient where they are. you do not expect the patient to do up to wherever you are.
i said in my written testimony at times it feels like you are saying to us if you get close enough, i will fix that broken leg of us. but until you walk over here, i can't help you. >> thank you. >> mr. chairman, i have gone over my time. >> thank you. >> and while i agree with the other witnesses here and their suggestions, i think it goes back to basics, too. i was never asked. i was never screened. i was never given the opportunity or that trust building period to disclose my experiences for whatever reason. if you can't get your foot in the door, and doors keep slamming in your face, you are either going to give up, go elsewhere or something else is going to happen. we need to start with the basics. i am reading testimony from others that are going to talk today saying m.s.t. screening,
m.s.t. screening. in my experience, i didn't receive that. >> that need to be the standard. >> then we can get in the door and then decide where the treatment is coming from. but we need to look at the first step, putting your foot into the door of the v.a. hospital. >> thank you so much for your courage and thank you, mr. chair for your intelligence. >> the gentle woman from indiana, you have five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. again to you all for coming today. thank you so much. i would like to echo what was said. we are committed to eradicating sexual trauma in the military. we are knew, and we are all young members here. but our passion and commitment to you is that the bravery that you have exhibited by being here today, the courage on shining a light in the darkness makes a difference.
we get calls every day now that we have talked about it. every day there is new people coming forward and sharing their stores. your stories are making the round around the country. we are fighting for you. thank you for your service to our nation, and it is our turn to fight for you. you have my commitment to do this until this is eradicated from our military. lisa, you are well informed, and you have made it a mission in the state of indiana to find out the weaknesses and the strengths of the v.a. how would you describe overall in the state of indiana as you have pursued it? how would you overall say the conditions are with the treatment of m.s.t.? >> overall in the state of indiana, if i had to rate it on a scale of 1 to 10, i would give it a three. they are making an effort.
we have a military sexual trauma coordinator at the v.a. center in indiana, and she is wonderful. but she is one person. we need more services of what has been talked about today, whether satellite clinics or outside treatment facilities but the issue need to be addressed not only on a state level, but also on a national level. and>> i appreciate that. if i can follow up, the information we have heard from here today, it is tragic. it is such a tragic story. we see all the data and we are listening to you. there is such a growing need to treat victims of m.s.t. lisa, as you have gone through this process, what do you think the issue is with the v.a. being so resistant despite the pleas of so many veterans around the country? >> i wish i could give you an answer, but i can't because it
doesn't make any sense to me. if the treatment is already set up in your local community, and you have the avenues, but the v.a. doesn't have the service available, common sense would tell you treat the survivor. we are not seeing that. going out into our local communities while the v.a. is developing their process would be something that would be beneficial. >> let me ask you this. our hope is this -- we passed inthe protection law as you are familiar with. you were a helpful story with that as well. with whistle blower protection hopefully being valid and signed orhopefully being valid and signed into low in january of 2014. if we can move this congress to get those outside services and those things provided outside the v.a., do you think we will see an influx of folks reporting because they will feel like they
have a safe haven from the military on one end from receipt lution, and secondly not going for services that zopet exist? >> i think you will see veterans and survivors come out of the woodwork. there were those who wore the uniform and proud to serve, but weren't proud of their service because of the service they had. if you give them opportunities to get them skills to deal with years of unattended ptsd systems, they will want to reach out to their families. >> thank you. >> you asked earlier about treatment at v.a. one of the main problems is there are simply too few providers. i go to the baltimore v.a., and we are talking a big city here. there is very few m.s.t. providers that are specifically trained in this area.
you have heard all of us talk about our m.s.t. coordinators. it is a lateral due. even at a small v., that is a full-time job. i guarantee you we could fill this room to overflowing with veterans who could talk about horrible treatment at the v.a. let's get a lot more people in there that are trained and are willing to provide quality care, and let's get researchers in there willing to do the research, especially with male survivors. >> i appreciate it. mr. chairman. >> my colleague from california? >> thank you very much, chairman. i first want to say thank you so much, ms. sanders, ms. wilken, mr. lewis and ms. johnson.
you have given voice to so many women and men who have suffered this atrocious experience. it is a triple assault that many of our veterans face. one is the trauma of war or the trauma of feeling that they could die at any moment through an experience from war, which is ptsd related. the second is the trauma of the m.s.t. experience. what i'm hearing now is we have a third incident, and that is trauma because of the lack of coordinated, sensitive and appropriate care that as a physician sometimes the treatment can make things worse. so as a physician it is absolutely unacceptable. as a congressman, it is
absolutely unacceptable. i know i speak on behalf of everybody on this panel. i know the hardships that many patients face, men and women, who come to the emergency department because of sexual trauma. i agree that sexual trauma is a holistic illness that is not something acute that can be treated with a pill. it is not a one-time shot or treatment. it is a lifetime struggle. part of the illness of this is the sense of powerlessness, and part of the treatment is to regain that power as an individual, to be able to feel like you are back in that control room. i appreciate it because what you are doing today is giving that
empowerment to a whole lot of people around our country. i thank you for doing that. a side victim in all of this is the family and relationships that you have with your spouses, your significant other, your children, issues of trust, issues of being able to communicate. i know it is very difficult. has the v.a. addressed treatment with your significant others, your families, and your closest friends? >> i will answer that. not to my knowledge. i don't know that there is any type of program set up for family members, spouses or children. but thank you for bringing that up. it is something that most certainly need to be addressed. we all talk about it as military sexual trauma.
we are all rape survivors. no one wants to use the word rape because it brings all the ugliness that rape brings into your lives. it was brought into our lives, and we brought that into our families' lives. they need our support. they are our biggest support network. issues need to be addressed with our significance others and children. it could be modeled after an al- anon who gives support to family members of alcoholics. we need that support. we have a strong support system, and they need a support system also. intimacy issues have to be addressed. those are things we we don't like to talk about, but they are who important, and they deserve that. if i could ask the panel to take anda look at that issue, it needs to be done.
>> if i could follow up on that. >> sure. >> a significant barrier in that is veterans who are identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender. i know the work in st. louis through the work of terry odom is starting in that area, but it is not a national trend yet, but that need to be addressed. there can be a lot of gender and sexual confusion after sexual trauma, and that needs to be addressed. i also want to pick up on your point about survivors being empowered again. a lot of times, the va takes our power away from us and asks us to use it in inappropriate ways. i was asked to take a nerve block to take away pain, and i
was asked to take it trans- rectally. imagine a male survivor being asked to have a male doctor insert something in your rectum and push a nerve in your areprostrate -- prostate to relieve pain.and that power should not have been needed to be exercised by me. that should have been my psychologist stepping up and saying no, this is contraindicated. sometimes this power is used in both ways. and you are right, congressman. you know who was there for me? it was not the va. it was not the doctor who gave me the injection. it was my partner who got me out of that building.